LIVE: Goo Goo Dolls & Train @ SPAC 7/26/2019


The recent summer tour at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) featured co-headliners Train and the Goo Goo Dolls accompanied by their opening act, Allen Stone. The headliners are known for their early 2000s pop-rock sound, while Allen Stone takes on a mixture of Soul and R&B. Train had great success in the 2000s with songs like “Drops of Jupiter” (Train, 2001) and “Hey, Soul Sister” (Train, 2009). While the Goo Goo Dolls are more known for the music they released in the late 1990s, most notably “Iris” which was released in 1998. The styles of all three bands played off each other for a great combination of music and made for a fun night.

Opening act Allen Stone, born and raised in Chewelah, Washington, a town near Spokane, started his music career at a young age. He began his career by singing in his father’s church, and later discovered his love for soul after listening to artists such as Stevie Wonders and Marvin Gaye. His songs still carry a note of his early days in his father’s church with references to Christianity and God that can be found in his lyrics. His stage presence was more flowy than the other two bands. He enjoyed dancing around the stage, even adding a synchronized dance with his band. His set was short but sweet, only performing 6 songs, one of which being “Is This Love” by Bob Marley, a song everyone in SPAC seemed to enjoy.

Photo by Dakota Gilbert

Following Allen Stone were the Goo Goo Dolls. The Goo Goo Dolls are a local rock band that made it big. They originated from Buffalo, New York and officially became a band in 1986. While a lot of their songs can be described as pop-rock or alternative, they originally formed as a punk rock band. They traveled around Buffalo in the Underground music scene opening for punk rock bands, before going mainstream. This initial touring can still be heard in some of their earlier songs and their first album “A Boy Named Goo” (1995). However, it wasn’t until “Iris” (1998) that the band hit it big.

The band’s setlist was a good 15 songs long. Most notable were the songs “Slide” (1998) and a newer release “Miracle Pill” (2019). But what really brought the crowd together and off their feet was their song “Iris”. As this was more of a “home-coming” show for them, they made sure to remind the crowd of their roots in western New York. To fit in more with the other acts, they played up the pop-rock sounds fans reminisce in from the 2000s. Their lead bassist and original member, Robby Takac, enjoyed dancing around the stage barefoot ready to jam out and dance around as much as he could. They ended their set with hit “Broadway” (1998) before turning the stage over to co-headliners Train.

Photo by Dakota Gilbert

The finishing act was the band Train, who most people had come out to see. The band, from San Francisco, California, was formed in 1993. While lead singer, Pat Monahan, was originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, he moved to California to pursue music. They resonate more with the pop-rock sound than The Goo Goo Dolls did, but made sure to keep aspects of rock in their performance. The band first hit big in 2001-2002 with their song “Drops of Jupiter” (2001), and became even more well known when their song “Hey, Soul Sister” (2009) became a pop anthem.

Train’s set was more pop fueled than the previous two bands with songs such as “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” (2012) and a cult classic “Save Me, San Francisco” (2009). They covered a couple of songs including “Under Pressure” (1986) by Queen and David Bowie, and “Heartbreaker (1969) by Led Zeppelin. However, they added a special touch for their New York fans by singing “New York” by Alicia Keys, this song was aided by Allen Stone who sang with Pat Monahan. They played the crowd’s favorites but also made sure to keep with their roots by playing songs such as “When I Look to the Sky” (2003) and “Calling All Angels” (2003). Train performed a total of 16 songs before ending the night with “Drops of Jupiter” (2001).

Photo Gallery by Dakota Gilbert

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